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Paving the way for local creative scene

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How Jed Root guided ACM towards a decade of success

Within the last 10 years, Artists & Company Manila (ACM) has made waves in the local creative industry through how it represented stylists, photographers, makeup artists, hairstylists, production designers, and fashion filmmakers. With the help of the agency, the high-quality work of its esteemed artists has been prominently put on display in posters, magazines, and advertisements, among many others, allowing them to make a name for themselves in the industry, both locally and abroad.

The whole thing was made possible through the vision and mentorship of creative businessman Jed Root. During ACM’s anniversary celebration on April 24, Manila Standard Life had the chance to sit down and chat with him about the creative agency’s journey throughout the years.

Before Root began his journey in the industry, he admitted that had no idea that it existed as a job in the first place. His introduction to the creative world came when he met his first boyfriend in Louisiana.

“We moved to New York together in 1982 because he wanted to be a makeup artist…I worked at a model agency for a short time then I was his agent… he became a very, very big makeup artist and then I just kind of fell into it that way and realized I really liked it,” said Root.

After years of making a name for himself, he established artist management agency Jed Root, Inc. in 1989, growing its offices in New York, Paris, London, and Los Angeles. With an office in Tokyo that allowed Root to further explore the Asian market, Root eventually made his way to the Philippines as he discovered its underrepresented creative industry.

Root immediately noticed the difference that there was a stark difference between how the West handled their creatives compared to how it was in the Philippines.

”In the US and Europe, people are used to the whole agency system. That’s been probably the bigger challenge here is kind of educating, especially the clients, about what an agency does. We represent the artist and we’re gonna help the artists grow and manage the hours but then we also provide a service to the clients to make their life easier, more organized,” said Root. 

When ACM first opened in 2014, Root said they welcomed a small group of artists into their roster.

”When we opened, we [started] with a group that was like four photographers, several makeup artists, a few hairstylists, and a few fashion designers,” said Root.

He also recounted how during the first few years of ACM, magazines were how the agency got to build its portfolio.

“We didn’t make a ton of money from them, but they had a big budget to produce the pictures… take five girls digitally for a week to shoot 25 pages of editorial. It was great. So when that came to an end, that was a challenge,” he said, adding how grateful he was for everything that he had experienced in the industry as ACM’s mentor.

“We’re really looking to build up more [and] find more artists. We’re gonna continue what we’ve been doing. We want more set designers or more filmmakers, we want more photographers and all the other things we have,” said Root.

“I don’t want to talk too much about it but we have other things planned for the future about ways we can give back and create more of a community for the artists to exchange ideas… and how we can help people who want to be in this business,” he added.

Making up the roster of ACM talents are stylists Andre Chang, Angelo Ramirez de Cartagena, Loris Peña, and Gee Jocson, makeup artists Amanda Padilla, Anthea Bueno, Don de Jesus, Omar Ermita, and Xeng Zulueta, hair stylists Cats Del Rosario, Mark Familara, and Mong Amado, production designers Justine Arcega-Bumanlag and Princess Barretto, photographers Shaira Luna, Paolo Pineda, and Dookie Ducay, and filmmakers Adrian Calumpang, Marlon Gervacio, MV Isip, and Silver Belen.

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